Artaxias: A Pre - Fight Interview
Brazilian Jujitsu tournaments has grown and changed so much over the years. The rise of Metamoris and Polaris has made it easier for both the practitioner and the spectator to understand. There is only one fight going on at a time; just submit your opponent within the time limit and you will win. Simple, right?
Before the smoke, the bright lights, and the feet hitting the mats, there are a lot of preparations involved in making this event happen. Firstly, organising the event.
I spoke with Vanderson Pires (Combat Room, Wellington) about the first submission only, fight night style format event in New Zealand.
Vanderson: “It is a combination of BOA super 8 and Metamoris. It allows fighters more recognition because it is based on just one match, where in normal BJJ tournaments you need strategies for several fights, and can play with the point system. In this kind of format there is no place to hide.”
When asked about how it went organising this event, he had this to say:
Vanderson: “Everybody was so happy and supportive when they heard about this format. You have to contact all the teams in New Zealand and explain to them the format, so I was bit concerned to put something new out there and scare people, but it was the opposite! Everyone was very positive, and of course we had help from Gabrielle and Anaru Para.”
Fuji Mae was their main sponsor for the event. They are located in Brooklyn, Wellington. Everyone who competed that night got a Gi. The fight card had been changed around, as potential competitors had to be replaced due to injury. Both fighters on the main event; Alex Scott (Manly BJJ/ Combat room) and Jose Gomes (Garlson Gracie Queenstown) were replaced - by Dan Digby (Orphans MMA) and Fernando Junior (Tu Kaha BJJ) respectively, just to name a few. Looking at the venue, the calibre of competitors competing tonight, and the crowd filling the seats, I think this event is going to be great.
Vanderson smiled and said: “Tonight is going to be on FIRE!”
I went to the back to get an interview with the competitors; some were stretching, some were just chatting, and others stayed relaxed before the storm.
I asked Jared O’Gorman (Combat room BJJ) if he knew much about his opponent, and if he had a specific strategy.
O’Gorman: “We’re fighting first on the card; I can’t find much stuff on him on the Internet. I know he competes a lot, he’s a blue belt like me, and he’s the only Australian on this card. So I just trained. I’ve been doing shark tanks and a lot of long rounds.”
I asked Toko Renata (Whakatane MMA) - how does someone train for a submission only event?
Renata: “At home we just go hard out all the time, but the main thing was to train in my gi more because this summer has been really hot”.
I also asked how is he feeling tonight, any nerves or stress going into this event.
Renata: “I had a pretty emotional week; my mother passed away last Saturday so the best way to say it is…. that I’m emotionally charged. I’m not overly concerned about winning, losing or drawing, I just want to entertain the crowd”
I’ve seen Patrick Te Tau (GSW, Wellington) compete a few times already but not a fight night event format. I asked him - how does someone train for a submission only event?
Te Tau: “I have done training sessions with no breaks; just having fresh people coming in, also 3-minute rounds with new people over and over.
A good part of the training was spent in the U.S.; we spent the majority of training at Marcelo Garcia’s gym. Marcelo was injured, but on the last day he called me over and we had a roll before we left”.
I also asked him how is he feeling at the moment.
Te Tau: “I feel pretty good but there’s always a level of nerves leading into any competition; it’s kind of like public speaking. I’m just kind of worried that you might get your ankle snapped or something”.
I thanked the competitors and made my way to my seat. The show was just about to start. The lights had gone dim, and the background music faded. It was only the main light on the stage. The MC came out. The VIP tables were full, and the crowd cheered. Smoke machine kicked in, and music came through the speakers again. I looked at the two men who stood on the platform; they had 10 minutes to submit each other. You must submit, or be submitted. There is no hiding.
Check out Combat Room and Artaxias invitations FB page for photos and other media of the event. Check out Maori TV who also reported on this event too.
Edited by Harry Greenfield